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Relationship between expressions of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin and biological behaviors of human pancreatic cancer


   OBJECTIVES: To investigate the expressions of E-eadherin and alpha-catenin in pancreatic carcinomaand their relationship with biological behaviors, and clarify the mechanism of invasion and metastasis ofpancreatic cancer.METHODS: The expressions of E-eadherin and alpha-catenin was examined in 47 patients withinfiltrative ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas and 12 specimens of normal pancreatic tissues byimmunohistochemical technique (PicTure~(TM) two-step method). Proliferation cell nuclear antigen(PCNA) was tested as an index of the proliferation degree of pancreatic cancer cells.RESULTS: The immunoreactivity of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin was expressed by normal ductal andacinar cells with strong membranous staining at the intercellular border in 12 specimens of normalpancreatic tissues. The abnormal rate of E-cadherin expression in pancreatic cancer was 53.2% (25/47),and it was significantly related to differentiation, high proliferation degree and lymph node and livermetastases (P<0.O1, 0.05, 0.05 and O.01, respectively). 61.7% patients with pancreatic cancer(29/47) showed abnormal expression of alpha-catenin. There was a good correlation amongalpha-catenin expression, histological grade, and lymph node and liver metastases (P<0.05, 0.05 and0.01, respectively). No significant association was found among abnormal expressions of E-cadherin andalpha-catenin, tumor size, invasion, and 1-year survival rate of patients ( P>0.05, all). There was apositive relationship between the expressions of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin in the 47 patients withpancreatic cancer (P<O.O1, r=0.88).CONCLUSIONS: Pancreatic cancer likely occurs in case of the inactivation of E-cadherin andalpha-catenin genes and abnormal expression of proteins, which significantly correlate with tumorigenesis,proliferation, differentiation, and lymph node or liver metastasis of pancreatic cancer.……